Jose Martinez could work with the Astros

ST. LOUIS, MO - SEPTEMBER 23: Jose Martinez #38 of the St. Louis Cardinals hits a two-RBI double against the San Francisco Giants in the sixth inning at Busch Stadium on September 23, 2018 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
ST. LOUIS, MO - SEPTEMBER 23: Jose Martinez #38 of the St. Louis Cardinals hits a two-RBI double against the San Francisco Giants in the sixth inning at Busch Stadium on September 23, 2018 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images) /
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The Astros have reportedly shown interest in various first base/designated hitters this offseason. Would a certain slugger from St. Louis work out?

When the Cardinals acquired first baseman Paul Goldschmidt instead of the Astros earlier in December, the trade created a roster logjam in St. Louis. Unfortunately for Jose Martinez, he likely finds himself without a defensive position due to Goldschmidt’s arrival. In turn, he’s an interesting trade candidate for the remainder of the offseason.

The Astros, like plenty of AL teams, ought to consider trading for the age-30 slugger. For one, Houston has been linked to Goldschmidt, Jose Abreu, and Nelson Cruz during the offseason. All three belong in the first base/DH category. Martinez has also spent time as both a first baseman and outfielder in 2018, however, he rates as a below average fielder by DRS and UZR. At this point in his career, it is reasonable to assume he won’t improve much in the field. A move to the AL, and a DH role, may be needed for Martinez going forward.

In terms of offensive production, Martinez continued his breakout in 2018 with a 125 wRC+, which 25% better than league average. He slashed .305/.364/.457 with 17 home runs in 590 plate appearances. While Martinez’s BABIP was nearly the same this year (.351) compared to 2017 (.350), his power numbers did suffer as his ISO dropped by .058 points. Overall though, Martinez has been a productive hitter the past two seasons over 897 plate appearances.

Another reason why Martinez is an attractive option for teams, including the Astros? He’s under club control through the 2022 season. Yes, that’s sweet music to the ears of baseball teams, specifically front offices and ownership. While Martinez is already 30-years old, he would be a low-cost option in the coming seasons. Plus, the age factor for a first baseman and/or designated hitter isn’t exactly a detrimental one.

The cost to acquire Martinez depends on the Cardinals. If they view him as a valuable asset due to his pre-arbitration seasons, then St. Louis may not part so easily, especially as Goldschmidt is currently under contract for one more season. Also, Martinez is a right-handed bat, and the Astros already have Tyler White and Yuli Gurriel under contract. Does Martinez already offer more than White? Probably not. It all depends on how the front office projects the players in the coming years. Don’t forget that the first base/DH market isn’t exactly in high demand nowadays.

Next. Astros have plenty internal depth for the bullpen. dark

At this point, I don’t think it would for the Astros to inquire about Martinez. Most teams should, especially if the acquisition cost is low. But Houston may be better to stick to White, but Martinez’s power ability intrigues me. Probably won’t happen, but worth thinking about.